Killing 2 birds with 1 stone; a wondrous excuse to take my dogs, Moly and Zulu, up to Cefn Onn park for a leaf/flora foraging exercise.


I must admit, I actually enjoyed the time so much with my dogs that the leaf/flora foraging took a back seat. However, I did bring back some items of interest. I wanted to transcribe simplistic and basic prints using paint and ink, I added a little mark making into the mix too. Below are the results of my walk.


Reflecting on my park/dog walk experience, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the park and experimenting with print. Completing these simple exercises is giving me a more disciplined approach to colour, shape and form. I absolutely love drawing from observation, yet sometimes it may not go to plan. If this is the case, I can improvise using found objects to print and stitch into. Exploration into mixed media is a must.


Using Ash and Sycamore leaves on coloured paper and incorporating ink, paint and bleach. Ripping images from the original paper they were applied to and collaging, stretching and drawing on top can allude to depth, texture and a 3-D quality. Simple lines over these images create a sense of individual ‘framed’ images which I really love. Could I mould an idea of a framed piece of work within a frame? Framed textile art? Manipulating these worked-into images can produce endless research ideas to pursue.


‘Module ADZ4771 Subject ‘Material Matters’

Monday 9 October.

Taught Drawing Lesson 3- ‘Deconstruction! Drawing with Thread’:

You are asked to prepare in advance for this session:

  • Photocopy some of the pieces you created last week, both in black and white and in colour, ready to use today.
  • Collect and bring in a group of natural form items to draw. This could be anything portable, such as flowers, foliage, twigs/ small branches, berries, seed-heads, fruits, vegetables, spices, feathers, shells, bark, driftwood, etc.
  • Bring in a good selection of drawing pens, pencils, inks, watercolours and brushes, Pritt stick and any threads/ yarn/ cord/ ribbon you may have.
  • You will be arranging, observing, recording and drawing several studies at differing scales.
  • You will then be incorporating threads, either glued or stitched on to your photocopies and other papers whilst observing a still-life of natural forms’

This was the brief set for today. Really excited to see what my creativity produces.

All my mark making ideas had been photocopied and brought in with me. I was a little concerned, initially, at the monotone/darkness aesthetic of the images, but actually found that the black and white of the photocopies meant that I could concentrate on being a little more lavish with the colour of the thread.

‘Drawing is like taking a line line for a walk’ Quote from Paul Klee.



Sasha had kindly brought in some incredible natural forms, including dried seed pods, branches, flowers, leaves and all other matter of wondrous gifts from nature. I was immediately drawn to the twists and sinuous turns of a drying out Lily flower head/stem (above). The form could be manipulated into a continuous line drawing effortlessly; fine liner and pencil were my chosen medium to record on paper.



(Left) Simply ripping the photocopied image roughly horizontally and laying down alternate inverted strips; Four observational drawings were recorded within specific areas of the paper; in hindsight I think I should have used a different colour medium on the monotone image, parts are a little difficult to see. (Right) Ripping photocopy and arranging at 45/90degrees to each other. Chronicling one larger drawing to straddle the white paper and collage. Specific coloured thread will be added later. I will document many different ideas before applying thread.

During the session, Helen Watkins our head of year, presented the group with a short retrospective to the type of exploration that makes her practice individual to her. I found the discussion most interesting, her inspiration is gained primarily from taking inspiring walks, this resonated highly with me. During my youth I loved nothing more than taking a trip into nature with my Dad. He would describe to me in detail all the wonders of the natural world, himself being an artist made the walks even more colourful and formative. Even to this day, I love nothing more than being surrounded by Nature.

Helen began to discuss ideas that could take our exploratory studies to the next level, after all the module is called ‘Material Matters’. She gave extremely generous advice in how to begin collecting/absorbing tools/materials of interest that could be utilised in an individual way.

(Above) The exploration/collage/juxtaposition from photocopies of my mark-making exercises. Next step will be to create observational drawing/stitch interpretations.


‘I have learned that what I have not drawn, i have never really seen, and that when I start drawing an ordinary thing, I realise how extraordinary it is, sheer miracle’ Quote from Frederick Frank


BONDAWEB!! A strong, heat reactive, sheet of glue which permanently bonds one fabric to another when ironed. Always used in Appliqué. Safe and sturdy sewing.

If the fabric is thin, an iron without steam is used. If fabric is thick, a good steam is necessary.

Looking at Precision Stitch this morning. Maggie presented a technical demonstration into how precision stitch is applied and how effectively it can be transferred onto appliqué. Precision stitch will give a professional and well finished conclusion.

I decided to use one of my Sycamore ‘Helicopter’ seeds as inspiration for my appliqué design. Using the disappearing fabric pen, I drew the basic outline from observation. From here, I set up my sewing machine and began to follow the instructions set out by Maggie.

Personal Feelings about Precision stitch:

  1. Precise, little room for error.
  2. When using the needle down button (middle of 3 circular buttons on image above), will always travel 1 further machine stitch forward to put needle down again. Tap foot to use single stitch.

PRECISION STITCH TIP!! Always start at a point.

Could I draw and then trace the image onto fabric? No. I tried and failed miserably; fabric was too busy to pick up any of the pencil. I ironed the bondaweb onto my chosen fabric and began to prepare further ‘sketches’ onto the back. I made sure that the adhesive side was touching the back of the fabric before ironing, otherwise a sticky and ruined iron will be gained.

The images were now cut out from the fabric and their back peeled off to reveal a slightly sticky backing. The shapes were now ironed onto the chosen fabric, which happened to be a sample swatch I had kept for this purpose. The pattern on the attach resembled the bark of a tree, pretty apt considering the seeds had failed from a tree.

Taking technique from Week 1 and incorporating with precision stitch, I used the appliqué process to outline pattern which I would follow on the reverse side. Once completed, I turned the sample over, changed the bobbin thread to one with more interest and began stitching. try-colour ribbon thread was used to ‘couch’ the thread onto the front.


Working on the reverse side will give the result you want on the front. Overall, the effect is not really what I was hoping for. The colour combination is slightly peculiar, but for a sample it allowed me to learn from my mistakes and gather the knowledge not to make them again.

Applique is definitely not one of my favourite stitch techniques, nonetheless I will probe my curiosity to gain a better understanding of the method.


I had to choose 5 subject choices from 11, which I would feel comfortable studying for my First term Constellation element of my Degree.

The 11 choices were as follows:


My 5 preferred choices have been written in bold. Trying to choose these 5 was incredibly difficult, I was only drawn to 3. The process of elimination entailed a detailed read-through of each subject content and how the visual handwriting worked in context with the written material.  I pray that I can study either HOW THINGS ARE, SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES or CRITICAL PRACTICES IN ART & DESIGN.

The choices have been made, now it is time to wait. I will find out within the next 7 days what I have been offered as a Constellation subject to study.


Up at 6am to get ready for the London trip. Although the trip had been arranged to primarily visit the V&A, I was strongly counselled to take the time to imbue myself with other venues and exhibitions.

Updating my blog became my task for the 3-4 hour journey down, I thought it sagacious to get as up to date as humanly possible. The exertion is evident, hopefully, within my ongoing blog.

Arriving in London, I decided to document all of my best-loved works of art by photograph. Having had a stomach bug for the previous 24 hours I did not have the energy to stand/sit and draw from observation. I customarily draw from observation, it gives a greater perspective of depth and detail. Hereafter, I will aim to document as much first hand as I can.

One of the most exciting initial features of the V&A Museum were the resplendent Marble pillars situated in the foyer. I could not help but cognise the intricate shapes, patterns and tones. Most people would simply walk past. I will be looking to study these incredulous natural forms.

(Above) HANGING – Cotton, mordant dyed/resist dyed (‘chintz’). Coromandel Coast, South-East India. 1700-25. ‘Square pieces like this were popular with the Dutch market, and several survive with Dutch coat of arms in the design. This one gives space of the central field over to exotic birds and flowers. Hybrid style typical of the period, with a mix of Chinese and western motifs’

Looking at certain areas within this hanging brings light to the simplicity of design, yet when looking at the overall larger hanging, the sheer detail and hard work that must have gone into such a magnificent textile is mind boggling.

Research into pressed and dried flowers will be an edifying and pragmatic manner to aid me within my ongoing creative practice. Indication for artists using pressed/dried flowers/flora?

(Above) Part of Hanging. Cotton, mordant and resist-dyed (‘chintz’). Coromandel Coast, South East India, for the Western Market. ‘Chintz bed or wall-hanging is an impressive piece due to it’s quality of design, draughtsmanship and dyeing. The red designs on a white ground would have required the expert use of an alum mordant or fixative. The fine white motifs against a coloured background were drawn in wax-resisted lines with a simple bamboo pen’.


(Above) Beetle-Wing Embroidery. Cotton net embroidered with metal-wrapped thread and beetle wings. Hyderabad, Deccan. 1855. ‘From early 19th to 20th centuries, the iridescent wing cases of Indian ‘jewel battles’ were popular with Western women both in India and Europe. They were pierced and stitched to the fabric with gilded silver-wrapped thread, and made gowns and accessories sparkle. Designs sketched and stitched onto sheer net could be cut out and applied to garments whenever desired’.

Incredible Islamic design, replacing glass with the most intelligent and beautiful linear structures. Looking in to symmetry and design.


(Above) Man’s Waist-Cloth. Cotton, mordant-dyed. South-East India, for the Sri Lankan market. 1850-1900. ‘South Indian textiles were widely used in Sri Lanka as there was little local tradition of weaving and dyeing. Mordant dyed cottons like this were popular for Men’s wrapped garments. Unlike pieces for the western market, they were often made without the accompanying resist-dyed indigo’.

I absolutely treasure the shapes and pattern within this garment. I aim to create an interpretation of this design within my own study.


(Above) Evening Coat. Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973). Autumn 1937. London. Silk jersey with gold thread and silk rose embroidery and applied decoration in silk. ‘Elsa Schiaparelli’s designs were characterised by their witty, Surrealist-inspired details. This coat depicts a profusion of roses in an urn which can also be viewed as two faces in profile. The double image held a particular fascination for Surrealists such as Salvador Dali. The embroidery is by the Paris house of Lesage, after a drawing by Jean Cousteau’

(Above) Riding Jacket. Messrs Redfern and Co. 1885-86. London. Wool with mohair braid.

I principally chose this garment for pure aesthetic reasons, it is simply stunning. The colour contrast is simple and so effective, but the intricate workmanship and bespoke tailoring is magnificent. Contemplating nature within Fashion is genius.

(Left & Middle) Tiles from the Tomb of Buyanquli Khan. Uzbekistan, Bukhara. c1358. Ornamental Frieze. Set horizontally above doorway. (Right) Upper section of Column and Capital. From left side of doorway. Carved earthenware under coloured glaze.


(Above) Lengths of Velvet with Flowers. Iran, c1600-1700. Silk velvet. ‘When Shah Abbas I made his capital shortly before 1600, he developed the city as a centre of luxury textile production. Silk velvets were made in abundance both for local use and for export. Many had floral patterns, some composed of fantastic blossoms, others of flowers closer to nature.

Absolutely stunning. Simplification and incredible contrast of flowers.

(Left) Large storage Jar with Iranian decoration. Isfahan, Iran, c1600-1700. Fritware painted under glaze, with later brass collar. ‘This jar is one of the few blue and white vessels decorated with a local Iranian pattern – a trellis set with large blossoms. Yet even in this design there is a strong Chinese element, as the highly stylised flowers were originally derived from Chinese lotus motifs’. (Right) Tiles with repeat pattern. Iznik, Turkey. c1580. Fritware painted under the glaze. ‘Tiles with this design are associated with the shrine of Eyup, which stands just outside the walls of Istanbul. The pattern is not self-contained but can be repeated endlessly, like a textile design. Each group of four miles has the complete pattern, which is symmetrical on the vertical axis.

(Above) Lehti. Sheet brass, photo etched and powder coated. London, England. 2004. Designed/made by Maria Jauhiainen. ‘Leith’ (Leaf). The silversmith confounds expectations of metal to create a delicate, seemingly weightless fruit bowl. She photo-etched her drawings of a decomposing leaf onto a thin metal sheet and dissolved the remaining areas with acid. Red powder-coating has given the owl great strength and flexibility’.


(Above) Sideboard Cloth. Linen ground embroidered with floss silks in stem and satin stitches, with couched and drawn thread work. Made by Frances Mary Templeton (1867-1946). ‘This sideboard cloth shows aspects of the techniques and designs associated with Jessie Newbury and Ann Macbeth, whose embroidery classes at the Glasgow School of Art left an important legacy to the craft of embroidery. They used coarse fabrics and simple, speedy stitching to emphasise the structure of their bold designs. The make of this cloth attended classes given by Ann Macbeth in Helensburgh, to the west of Glasgow’.

Two textile/embroidery artists to research and discover more about, whilst delving into the past of the salubrious history of the Glasgow School of Art & Design.

(Above) ‘The Day Lily’ Wallpaper. 1897. Colour print from wood block. Designed by Walter Crane (Liverpool. 1845 – 1915) for Production by Jeffrey & Co. London. Walter Crane was the first president of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society. He developed his figurative style through illustration books, but became a prolific commercial designer, working for many different manufactures. He designed more than fifty wallpapers for Jeffrey & Co. from 1874′.

I was immediately drawn to the incredible line and detail within this wallpaper; since a youngster, I have always wanted to create the most original and aesthetically pleasing wallpapers. Dreams can become a reality. Time to look into wood-block printing.


(Above) Wallpaper sample. Colour print from wood blocks, on paper; the dado, flock on paper. Designed by Bruce James Talbert (Dundee. 1838 -1881) Printed in London for Jeffrey & Co. ‘By 1880 it was fashionable to decorate walls in 3 horizontal sections: frieze, filling and dado. Although this specimen panel was printed in one piece, usually three parts would be produced as separate papers. They were combined according to the choice of the customer’.



(Above) Decorative Paper printed in Germany. c1800-1850. Maker Unknown. Gold embossing from engraved copper plates. ‘Since the early 16th Century, decorative papers printed with small scale patterns have been used variously as endpapers and book covers, lining papers for trunks and deed boxes, patterns for the backs of playing cards, and occasionally as wallpapers. Gold-embossed papers like these first appeared in the early 18th Century and production continued to the mid 19th Century. German printers in Augsburg, Nuremberg and Fuerth were renowned as producers of such papers. As well as decorative patterns, sheets with images of figures like saints were popular. These so-called ‘picture sheets’ were divided into separate frames, suggesting that they were designed to be cut out’.

The colours utilised are celestial, contrasting the beauty of gold and indigo blue is nothing short of genius. Investigative work into colour contrast will ensue as soon as possible.

The V&A Museum is a treasure trove of design, inspiration and history, but alas I had to move on. My Mother had informed me, a couple of days before my London excursion, of a Matisse exhibition currently on show at The Royal Academy of Art. Having never been overfond on Matisse as a long student, I now established myself discovering a new found respect for him. I am not quite sure if it was the arrogance/ignorance of youth, but I had completely overlooked the textile/textural/linear qualities within his work.


(Above) Safran Roses at the Window, Oil on Canvas. 1925. Henri Matisse.

“Here and there, Matisse’s work finds reflection in marble, in gilt wood, faience, Oriental cloths – a whole euro shop for some daily magic: apparatus of a fantastic laboratory of visual alchemy” Georges Salles ‘Visit to Matisse’, Art News Annual 21 (1952): 37.


(Above) Still life and Heron studies. 1900. Henri Matisse. Watercolour and Ink on Paper.

This work is effortless, yet so salient. It is a working exploration into colour; working from the same image but applying over different colour can construct a positive outcome for planned future work. Could I disentangle my stitch ‘writer’s block’ by using a fabric paint/ink first?

fruit bowl msatisse

(Above) Still life with Red Carpet. 1906. Henri Matisse. Oil on Canvas.

Sumptuous textiles within a rich and colourful still life/textile study. It would be counterproductive for me not to explore the textile constitution within a lot of his work.



A trip to Re-Create was much needed; a treasure trove of another’s trash. I procured all this for £6!!! I had decided that my mark making in yesterday’s session was uninspired to say the least, I knew that I could have done so much better. Whilst not completely disregarding what I had completed on Monday, I took my ideas back to basics and began a explorative exercise using ink, paint and a mixture of hand-made and already prepared tools.

Using one of the most obvious and simplistic mark-making tools… fingers. Using Black Indian Ink gave mixed results, the initial ;print’ was extremely saturated and gave little pattern or texture. The ink dried out pretty quickly, in hindsight I should have used a screen printing ink, which would allow a crisper and more textural print.

Employing a sole willow reed, I snapped it into 3 parts and bound it together with masking tape. Dipping the reed into black indian ink and dragging the implement across the paper gave birth to some incredibly strong and purposeful marks. Little did I know that this new tool could be manipulated to create other wonderfully diverse marks too.

The 3 separate tips of the willow reed could construct circles, lines, zig zags, cross hatching and poignant lines.

Using straws for a range of different marks, the tip and side of the implement were used.

Having these repeated onto print would result in some sensational designs. I am finding the Stitch workshops a little narrow and constrictive, I think I will aim to find an evening course to explore stitch a little more creatively; second hand books via Amazon always help in times of ‘writer’s block’.

Purchased THE MAGIC OF FREE MACHINE EMBROIDERY – Doreen Curran on Amazon. Spent £4.96 on a Hardback!! Will strive to learn some exercises myself, hopefully will allow me to build a catalogue of samples ready for next couple of weeks.


Using  both ends of the willow reed; flat end and broken/rough end. Referencing the wonderful mark making brief on Moodle, I attempted a quick ‘sketch’ using the idea of Pointillism to build up a pattern. More ink equates a darker and intense mark, whilst less ink generates a subtle and background mark.

Cardboard concocted 2 totally divergent marks, This piece of cardboard cost 10p!! The character it has left is priceless. Another tool I will explore in far more detail, stitch perhaps?

(From left to right) Round brush/side. Ink blown quickly through straw and blown across page. Ink gently blown through straw at close range. Ink flicked from paint brush and dribbled on page.

(Above) Direct prints from natural forms. Dried Physalis and Sycamore seed.


(Above) Cut a part from Bicycle tyre and printed with coloured Gouache. Progression next to use screen printing ink. Multi layer? Colour upon colour? On fabric and then free machine stitch?

Experimenting with colour and block prints. Extremely happy with my mark making enquiry.


 ADZ4771 Subject: Material Matters

Taught drawing lesson 2: Monday 2nd October 

‘The aim of your next drawing session is to experiment with wet and dry techniques on to various surfaces to create a body of individual pieces, to suit your own personal themes and styles.

Basic core materials will be provided, but please bring in watercolours, gouache, coloured inks, Quink ink, coloured pencils, pens, oil, wax and chalk pastels/ crayons where possible.

Also, a selection of thin and wide brushes, a variety of scrap papers (such as recycled paper, tissue, brown wrap, envelopes, hand-made and tracing papers) Plus any recycled non-patterned plain fabrics and masking tape/ fluid.

Remember to bring in your A3 sketchbook and any other resource material!!’ Sasha.

Advised by Keireine and Helen to reaffirm confidence when navigating Moodle, looking especially at the Career Module. Ess George is available to book a 121 career appointment. I will view the module tonight and arrange an appointment ASAP.

Week 2 of the drawing exercises was again run by Sasha and Helen. Helen introduced me to a range of brushes and encouraged me to construct a technical file for future use. This library of brush mark knowledge could then be called upon when needed.


Before I started using a brush, I thought it prudent to begin a few simple mark making exercises using the information I had found on Moodle; included a vast and comprehensive range of ‘Drawing Techniques’ to find our own visual handwriting.

Using a range of different brushes and brush strokes to crete wildly different and expressive marks. Using Blue again, my favourite colour. Fascinating to realise so many different marks can be made with one drawing tool.

Tools used were:


This was what I had created within the designated studio session. I felt a mixed emotion looking over my work, I know that I can do better. The task I have set myself for the coming week, to really immerse myself within my sketchbook and find my own creative identity…..again. Watch out for lots more exploratory mark making.

I will research definitive books I have at home and make use of the sublime Library @ Cardiff Met.